Passionate about suicide prevention and sporting Inuit-made fashion, Malaya Qaunirq Chapman is in Toronto in search of not just the title of Miss Canada International but also with a mission to bring attention to the life, and troubles, of her fellow aboriginals up north.
The 22-year-old, who models clothes for organizations based in and around her hometown of Iqaluit, Nunavut, will be vying not for a beauty or swimsuit prize but for a college scholarship and a chance to represent her favorite charity. Her more deep-seated goal is to bring attention to the troubling suicide rates plaguing her region, as well as what is being done to combat them, the Nunatsiaq News reports.
It’s the perfect forum for her to do so, given that the Miss Canada International pageant judges contestants on “their ability to communicate, their personal achievements, scholastic testing and overall desire to be an ambassador to Canada,” the newspaper said. Contestants range in age from 19 to 26.
Trained in suicide prevention, Qaunirq Chapman volunteers on Nunavut’s suicide-prevention hotline and hopes to show the devastating effect the problem has had on hers and other remote, northern communities.
“I hope to inspire other young girls to pursue this and take advantage of every opportunity,” she told the Nunatsiaq News. “Just because we’re isolated doesn’t mean we have to stay isolated.”